Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

Just as one can see and appreciate beautiful paintings without being able himself to paint, so can one play and appreciate hundreds of golf courses without being able to develop that natural aptitude and artistic sense which, to my mind, contribute so largely to the successful and outstanding accomplishments of a golf architect. CHARLES BANKS


    

Thursday
Apr282016

Bringing "Sexy" To Golf: Bob Parsons My Shot

Granted, the photo of PXG founder Bob Parsons in his best Harley cut-off might not my scream sexy, but the founder of golf's newest equipment company won't care.

He's all about new clubs and tells his story to Golf Digest's Guy Yocom for an eye-opening My Shot that touches on his club company, benevolent dictatorships and how he built his fortune.

WHEN MY ENGINEERS asked what I wanted our clubs to look like, I began with "sexy." Sexy is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I wanted the clubs to beckon to you when you looked at them. I wanted you to fall in love. I wanted the irons to look like a blade but be a little oversized with a sweet spot the size of Texas. I wanted them to go higher and farther without goosing the lofts. They sighed. "Is that all? This might take awhile." After many false starts, they nailed it.

And some day if sales ever slow, he may regret this...

ONE OF THE MANY THINGS I got from being a Marine was respect for authority. I completely support the USGA and the way they've laid down rules for equipment. I believe in the way they set standards and uphold them. I like their integrity.

Thursday
Apr282016

DII School Bans Team From Trump National Doral; Coach Endorses The Donald

Brentley Romine with the story of Division II Barry University barring its golf team from practicing at Trump Doral because the school's mission statement clashes with the campaign rhetoric of the resort's owner.

Forget your political views for a moment, and note that Trump Doral was providing some free golf to a Division II school. In an era when more and more clubs sadly close their doors to local college and high school teams, it's pretty impressive that a high end resort course was still providing some free golf to a Division II school.

Anyway, coach Jimmy Stobbs tells Romine that he has no opinion...well, not really...

“We were very appreciative of the opportunity to play on the outstanding courses that aided in the player development. Barry University administration has an issue with Mr. Trump that now affects the golf team in many ways.

“I will keep my opinion of the decision to myself, but for the record, my wife and I both voted for Mr. Trump in the Florida primary, and we will again in the general election.”

Thursday
Apr282016

John Daly At 50: An Appropriately Fun Retrospective

Kind of glad Herb Wind didn't have to do a New Yorker piece on this birthday.

John Daly gets a more appropriate retrospective from the SkratchTV gang. Oh, and Fuzzy owes Long John $150k according to USA Today's Josh Peter, money that will be well spent no doubt.

PS - Long John, two majors...shouldn't he be on a World Golf Hall of Fame ballot?

Thursday
Apr282016

USGA: Third Most U.S. Open Entries Ever

The most democratic championship on the planet isn't getting any less popular.

For Immediate Release:

USGA ACCEPTS THIRD-HIGHEST NUMBER OF U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP ENTRIES

More Than 9,800 Will Attempt to Qualify for 116th Championship at Oakmont Country Club

FAR HILLS, N.J. (April 28, 2016) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has accepted a total of 9,877 entries for the 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

The number of entries is third to the record 10,127 accepted for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, and the 9,882 entries accepted for last year’s championship at Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash. Among this year’s total are 50 players, including 12 past champions, who are fully exempt into the field (see list below).

The USGA accepted entries for the 116th U.S. Open from golfers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 72 foreign countries.

“The number of entries received underlines the global appeal of the U.S. Open Championship and the historical greatness of Oakmont Country Club,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “We look forward to conducting local and sectional qualifying and to hosting the U.S. Open at Oakmont for a record ninth time on June 16-19.”

To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 111 sites in the United States, will take place between May 2-19.

Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes, will be conducted on Monday, May 23, in Japan, on Monday, May 30, in England and on Monday, June 6, at 10 sites in the United States, ranging from New Jersey to California. This will be the 12th year with two international qualifiers, which were established in 2005.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 champion, and 11 other champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the championship. They are: Angel Cabrera (2007), Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Martin Kaymer (2014), Graeme McDowell (2010), Rory McIlroy (2011), Geoff Ogilvy (2006), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008).

Cabrera won the most recent U.S. Open played at Oakmont, when he held off Furyk and Woods by one stroke in 2007. Among the previous Open champions at Oakmont are Ben Hogan (1953), Jack Nicklaus (1962), Johnny Miller (1973), Larry Nelson (1983) and Els (1994). Nicklaus defeated hometown hero Arnold Palmer in an 18-hole playoff for the first of his record 18 major championships. Miller shot a final-round 63 to defeat John Schlee by one stroke. Miller was the first player to shoot 63 in a major, and it is still the lowest final-round score to win a major championship.

For the sixth consecutive year, only online entries were accepted. The USGA received 620 entries on the last day applications were accepted (April 27), including 122 applications in the final hour. Gordon Vietmeier, a 48-year-old professional from Pittsburgh, Pa., submitted his entry just 37 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT. Anthony Monica, a 33-year-old amateur from Panama City, Fla., was the first entrant when entries opened on March 9.

Thursday
Apr282016

Early Photos Of Trump Turnberry Reveal Shocking Twist!

Some of you may know I find the links golf move toward immaculately manicured jacuzzi bunkers to be a depressing evolution of seaside bunkering. Especially given what the old photographs show and the vitality of naturalness in links golf.

So imagine my shock and joy in seeing the first photos emerging from Trump Turnberry showing off the finished product. No more bathtub bunkers. Architects Mackenzie and Ebert deserve most of the credit, especially since they convinced The Donald to go this route.

Exciting stuff from Turnberry, which reopens soon and will be getting a full inspection from yours truly this July:


And click on the lower left photo to see the new par-3...

 

Thursday
Apr282016

European Tour Winning Battle Of The Bridgestone?

The news of Rory McIlroy choosing to play the European Tour's 100th French Open June 30-July 3rd instead of the WGC Bridgestone (where he's a former winner and where the European Tour will not be a co-sanctioner this year), allowed ESPN.com's Bob Harig to point out the ugly scheduling showdown between tours.

And based on McIlroy's decision, Harig says the PGA Tour's decision to hold its ground on the WGC date (or having the event at all this year) has backfired.

This WGC's traditional date is prior to the PGA, which wasn't going to work. So what to do?

Move it to a time on the schedule that clearly rankles a so-called partner in these events, the European Tour? Clearly the two sides discussed the situation, with the European Tour expressing its unwillingness to bend on its schedule. And the PGA Tour did it anyway?

McIlroy won't be the only top player to skip Akron. Henrik Stenson is also not going, meaning he will miss two WGCs this year. And defending champion Shane Lowry has a brutal decision to make as a European Tour member who dearly wants to be part of the Ryder Cup team but can't earn any points at the Bridgestone.

Wednesday
Apr272016

Rory In Rio: Will Have To Wear New Balance!?

An unbylined Belfast Telegraph Irish Golf Desk (original location) story by Brian Keogh says Rory McIlroy will be wearing, gulp, New Balance stuff at the Rio Olympic Games because Nike never build to sponsor team Ireland.

Worse, Ireland's Olympic Council boss Pat Hickey revealed that Nike was given the shot to outfit Team Ireland and passed.

Instead the deal went to Boston-based New Balance for what Hickey described as "peanuts" - believed to be less than €2m - compared to the $20m a year that Nike are paying the four-time major champion.

"Before Rory decided whether he'd declare for Team GB or Ireland we put our team gear out to contract," Hickey said at the '100 days to Rio' presentation in Dublin.

"Just in case he declared for us, we went to Nike in the UK and told them we might have Rory. But they just dismissed us out of hand and now they regret it, I believe."

Wednesday
Apr272016

"With friends like Michael, Tiger is all set for detractors."

Thanks to reader Tom for Marina Hyde's entertaining Guardian look at the most surprising component of Wright Thompson's feature on Tiger's downfall: the comments of Michael Jordan.

Considering the two might have to share a cart at this fall's Ryder Cup--assuming Tiger can fit on the seat next to MJ's dad jeans--the comments were rather strong. Perhaps because they arrived late in the 11,000 word piece they didn't care as much weight, but as Hyde notes...

“What does he do all day?” wonders Jordan, rather unwonderingly. “I don’t know. I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t know.” Of Woods’s failed marriage, he observes: “It’s a ship he can’t right and he’s never going to.” Alrighty. Might he not find someone else? “I don’t know if he can find that type of happiness.” Oof. There is, of course, a fine line between tough love and toxic buddydom – even if it feels like we crossed it a couple of fairways back.

Tuesday
Apr262016

Fox Revamps, Reduces Broadcast Team For 2016 U.S. Open

As remarkable as Fox Sports was in 2015 with its first year golf coverage--so says the USGA President--they've overhauled and shrunken their 2016 announce team.

Besides Greg Norman's retirement after just a year and Corey Pavin not returning, Awful Announcing points out some notable new faces, including Paul Azinger, Curtis Strange, Ken Brown and Jaime Diaz.

And this:

Furthermore, Oakmont director of golf Bob Ford will provide special insights on the course for the US Open broadcast from the historic venue.

Perhaps the most notable thing to mention on the full Fox lineup outside of the Azinger-Norman switch is the absence of Fox NFL Sunday host Curt Menefee, who served as the network’s studio host for the US Open, and analyst Tom Weiskopf.

Tuesday
Apr262016

R.I.P. Manuel de la Torre

Thanks to the readers who sent in Gary D'Amato's obituary of Manuel de la Torre, golf instructor extraordinaire who passed away at 94. The man who helped thousands also worked with Carol Mann and Tommy Aaron.

He sounds like quite the instructor:

He eschewed modern teaching philosophies that focused on specific body positions and movements. Though he could talk in great detail about the geometry and physics of the swing, his method was based on the simple concept of swinging the club toward the target.

"You don't think about your elbow when you're brushing your teeth," de la Torre said in a 2015 interview with the Journal Sentinel. "And yet, you're very successful at brushing your teeth. But this is what happens with golf. People are not concerned enough with what they have to do with the club. They focus either on the body or the ball, and neither of those things produces consistency.

Tuesday
Apr262016

Baker-Finch: Olympics Needs Team Format ASAP

Some of us don't want to say I told you so, but it's fascinating to hear a narrative brewing from those dealing with the players who are passing on the Olympics: Zika virus and the format.

As I noted on ShackHouse this week, a very solid source has told me that the South Africans are passing largely because of concerns about the Zika virus and their desires to have children free of birth defects, but I didn't get to mention in the show, it was also pointed out that the format does not force players into a team situation.

AAP talked to Ian Baker-Finch who all but backed this up with his "team" Australia member Adam Scott.

"I don't think people realise that Adam is not letting anyone down. It's his decision and he's entitled to make it. I am disappointed he won't be with us but I totally understand his position."

Baker-Finch has passed on his thoughts to the International Golf Federation.

While Gary Player and others fear the pullouts will affect the vote to keep the sport in the Games past 2020, Baker-Finch hopes it will just make them heed format change calls.

"I think it will make them think about making it a team competition. I'd even love to see it as a mixed team even - that would be awesome."

I don't know the feasibility of mixed, but it's fascinating as a longtime format hater to see so many no only coming around to a team element, but actually suggesting that such a format forces players to show up compared to an individual stroke play tournament.

Also, there is the radar issue for players: this is a first year event. Granted, as Baker-Finch pointed out last weekend it's also the world's oldest sports gathering, but Jason Day explained why that doesn't mean much to golfers. Ryan Lavner reports.

Tuesday
Apr262016

ShackHouse Podcast: Patrick Reed, Tiger, Olympics, Millennials

We're back after a two week hiatus we return with world No. 12 Patrick Reed fresh off his second place finish in the Valero Texas Open.

We discuss his bold play on 18th hole, the wait to hit the shot, his attempt to hole the eagle chip, his desire to make the Olympics, key food insights and more.

House and I also kick around the latest in Tiger and Olympic news, along with my criticism of the reaction to the Bahamas boys antics.

Here is the Soundcloud link to the Reed show.

iTunes link to the Reed episode and free subscription opportunities. And here are the current show pages for iTunes and for Stitcher. And those relying on pushed pods to your mobile device should have it soon.

As for a few things mentioned in the show...

Our presenting sponsor Callaway Golf has launched a Roku app with great content (AppleTV coming soon), including Callaway Live and other goodies. The Callaway community, sponsor of this week's Speed Round, is a must if you're a latest-and-greatest buyer. For those intrigued by Callaway's iron 50% trade-in offer, here's their iron selector page.

And don't forget that promo code HOUSE for some MeUndies, this week's sponsor! House swears by them.

Content wise, also mentioned:

Valero Open final round highlights from the 18th hole

Patrick Reed's post-round comments as reported by Will Gray

Wright Thompson's Tiger Woods story

My commentary on the millennial vacation for the ages

Tiger's swing as it looks today (Matthew Rudy with help from instructors dissects here).

Tuesday
Apr262016

R&A Creating Their Own Coachella At The Open!

Or for UK readers--according to my senior British millennial correspondent--a golfing T In The Park.

Now, we could giggle at the idea of a site tour by Martin Slumbers, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton and some other double-breasted types as the precious ones are lighting up, cussing, making the world their bathroom and playing music all while doing their best Ivor Robson impersonations, but it's all worth it because they are offering a severely discounted ticket price. However, the R&A still offers no discounts for seniors, which would sure help beef up weekday attendance.

The full release:

THE OPEN CAMPING VILLAGE TO OFFER FREE ACCOMMODATION TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF GOLF FANS

26 April 2016, St Andrews, Scotland: The next generation of golf fans attending The 145TH Open at Royal Troon this summer will be able to book free accommodation at The Open Camping Village.  The initiative is part of The R&A’s commitment to ensuring the Championship is open to all.

The Open returns to the historic Ayrshire links from 10-17 July and will see the world’s best players competing to become Champion Golfer of the Year.  Now spectators aged 25 and under will be able to take advantage of the new accommodation option free of charge.

The Open Camping Village, which will be run by The R&A’s official accommodation partner, will be located a short walk from Royal Troon at Marr Rugby Club. It will feature two, four and six person pre-pitched tents along with inflatable camping beds for each guest. There will be 500 camping places available each night with the facility set to be open from 10-17 July.  There will be food and drink options and shower facilities on-site, as well as free parking. Security will be operating 24 hours a day.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A said, “There will be an exciting festival atmosphere at Troon throughout the week of The Open as thousands of people come together for a true celebration of golf. The new Camping Village will provide a fun and safe accommodation option for young people within easy walking distance of Royal Troon.

“The Open is a wonderful opportunity for young fans to get up close to their favourite players and we know this will help inspire future generations to pick up a club and take part themselves. Our aim is to make The Open as accessible as possible and the new Camping Village along with discounted Youth Tickets and the Kids Go Free programme are key parts of this commitment.”

Families can also take advantage of the free accommodation at The Open Camping Village, with children under the age of 16 required to be accompanied by at least one adult of any age, to a maximum of two adults.

The Open offers a variety of ticketing options including a discounted Youth Ticket for spectators aged 16 to 21 that ranges in price from £5 on the first Practice Day to £25 for Championship Days.

This year sees The Open celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Kids Go Free initiative, which allows children under the age of 16 free admission to the Championship when accompanied by an adult. More than 300,000 children have experienced The Open for free since the programme was first introduced at Royal Troon in 1997.

Tickets for The Open are currently available at early season pricing, with prices set to rise after 31 May.

Spectators can register their interest now at www.TheOpen.com/camping with bookings to be taken from early May.

Here is Scotland's T In The Park...love the m's!

Tuesday
Apr262016

Schwartzel Passing On Rio Too, Another Crisis Averted

Charl Schwartzel is telling South African Olympic team captain Gary Player he can take his Olympic dreams and live them out through someone else, joining fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen in announcing on the eve of more rigorous drug testing that he's skipping the Rio games. His reasons, if you care, were not clear.

Gary Player was not pleased, reports AFP:

"I would have given anything to play in the Olympics. South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good."

Yes, but I'm not sure golf could survive another rally-killing major win by the South African. One was enough.

Tuesday
Apr262016

Tiger Opens Bluejack National: First Round Since Last August

Well maybe those who don't want to see him tee up before he's absolutely ready may not need to worry about Tiger Woods teeing off for a while, as he revealed Monday's Bluejack National opener was his first since August, 2015.

Then again, as I noted in this week's Forward Press look at the week ahead, anything is possible with a man who showed up at a Masters untested. He has until late Friday afternoon to decide on Quail Hollow, so there is always the chance he enters a favorite tour event next week.

Bob Harig reports from the club home to the first Woods design in North America. It's a redesign of an existing course, opened on what appeared to be a much-needed beautiful day for Houston.

"I'm definitely a little tired but I feel pretty good," Woods said in an interview afterward. "I haven't been out here playing like this. I hadn't played any holes until today. I know people have said I've played holes back at Medalist, but I haven't. This is actually the first time I've played holes since Wyndham. It's been awhile.

A short highlight reel from the opener heavy on Woods, light on good looks at the course. And you may recall the club's short course opened in rather unbelievable fashion.

Monday
Apr252016

U.S. Open Media Day: Jordan Spieth Never Mentioned Once!?

Usually the defending champion appears, calls in by phone, sends flowers or somehow feigns interest in the United States Open media day. But with Jordan Spieth passing on commemorating his 2015 U.S. Open win, his name was curiously never brought up in 2016's 10,700 word edition.

I won't take you through too much of the transcript as it's mostly thank you's or applause mentions. And it's never ideal when a non-Tim Finchem transcript takes 6700 words to get to the first question. Besides, Ryan Herrington was there and has five key takeaways heading into this year's U.S. Open worth noting.

But it is pretty great when No. 2 man Mike Butz is referred in the transcript to Mike Butts, or this:

late 1800s, Myopia Hung Club, it's been a tough test from day one.

Yes it is when you put it that way!

In lieu of the defending champ, the USGA wheeled out Pennsylvania amateur greats Nathan Smith and Carole Semple Thompson, bookended by USGA President Diana Murphy and USGA "Executive Director and CEO" Mike Davis sporting his new title.

Eloquent stuff from the President here:

We also like to think that our championships and particularly the U.S. Open, makes history every year we hold it.

Well, there was that 96 Open at Oakland Hills, but go on...

  And we thought it might be fun to start this program this morning with a very brief video of some of the historic moment that is we may all remember around the U.S. Open.

    (Video played.)

DIANA MURPHY:  Gives you a little bit of chills.  It is the greatest game.  We certainly believe that and we think it is the greatest championship in the U.S. Open.

(Applause)!

As for the historic golf course, it sounds like some fairways are cut into the bunkers and otherwise, according to the CEO who regaled the crowd with the club's history, nothing is much different setup-wise from 2007:

For the 10,000, roughly 10,000 players that are going to try to qualify for this championship, what are they going to expect in terms of golf course setup in June?  What's interesting is, a lot of sameness.  And I say that because from 2007 we are playing it the same yardage.  Every hole is exactly the same yardage as 2007.

The same fairway widths and contours as we played in 2007.  In fact, these are the same fairway widths and contours the members here at Oakmont have been playing for years and years.  They're the same grass heights from 2007.  The same green speeds as 2007.  The same general hole locations as 2007.  Same bunkering and the same wonderful course conditioning that John Zimmers and his staff have done.

There was a Fox question and of course, it provided much needed comic relief:

Q.  Mike, a year now in with Fox Sports, what are your thoughts about Fox as a partner and presenting the U.S. Open and all of your USGA championships.

DIANA MURPHY:  Let me comment on that.  Thank you for the question. 

Reports confirm Mike was not treated for any bruises obtained as the President dove for the microphone. Go on...

We're delighted to have Fox as our partner.  We have really had a wonderful experience with them in year one, recognizing it was their first year, and I know how excited they are to get out there beginning next month with our Four‑Ball at Winged Foot and I think many of them are on the course today having a great time with the course and playing it and also doing some video.

But I think that their innovation, their technology, their enthusiasm and energy and bringing golf to the world has been remarkable.  And we're looking forward to continuing that partnership nor many years.

Remarkable!

ADAM BARR:  I want to take just one more and then leave time for everyone to have lunch and get ready for golf.  Over here.

Rally killer!

Then it was time to wrap up...

ADAM BARR:  Couple of quick housekeeping items and then on to the fun.  Usopen.com, the home for all things U.S. Open information and coverage is live today.  So use it.  A lot of great information on there.  We hope it will help you with your coverage.  Photos with the U.S. Open trophy and interviews with our speakers today and other USGA representatives and Oakmont people are also available now.  See a communications staffer for help.

A transcript of today's program will be available a little bit later this afternoon.
   
And please see a member of the compromised staff if you have any questions about media service or operations at the U.S. Open proper.

The compromised staff. I can't keep up with this corporatespeak!

Oh, and a note to your moochers who showed up for your free golf today...

Now, golf is set for 1:30 shotgun and Oakmont sets the gold standard in a lot of things, including pace of play.  It does not take that long to four‑putt.  So, please, move it along.

And I will remind all of you in the afternoon wave, that caddie fees are covered, but caddie tips are not.  So, tip your caddies, they are the very best in the business here at Oakmont.  If you have ever played here, you know exactly what I mean.

Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis were on hand to play, as was the Fox broadcast team. All can be seen in this photo gallery.

And this video interview with Ben and Jerome covers their green fee.

Monday
Apr252016

Mike Tirico To NBC; The Open Championship On His List 

John Ourand reports that the hardest working man in sports TV--Mike Tirico--is leaving ESPN for NBC and it sounds like the Olympics and some golf were part of the draw.

With Dan Hicks doing Olympic swimming, Tirico could be in line to host the Olympic golf coverage and also serve as host of The Open Championship coverage on NBC, an event he made no secret about adoring during his ESPN years. His ESPN contract is up this summer, so it's hard to say when his new affiliation begins.

Monday
Apr252016

Tiger's Dilemma: Start Slow Or An All-In Return?

Being that he's Tiger Woods, an appearance in the Medalist Member-Guest or the Jupiter Four-Ball probably isn't realistic. After all, if he didn't play like Tiger Woods in one of those events, he'd be ridiculed.

But I wonder if I'm the only one struggling with this idea that someone who has just had some major surgeries might just turn up at a big time PGA Tour stop like the Wells Fargo or Players. His agent continues to go with the no timetable answer, and that very well may be true and all of this is premature.

Though now we learn he is signed up for the U.S. Open which doesn't necessarily mean much, except that it is on his radar as a possibility. Maybe he's patterning himself after Hogan's '53 schedule and will keep it light on appearances, but focused on big events and that'll do. But as we discussed on Morning Drive today, the rhythm looks great but the range of motion still understandably limited (note the follow through)...

Sunday
Apr242016

Sorry: #SB2K16 Is Not Something To Be Lauded

Now that the social media swooning has quieted down from the four-day Snapchat and social media advertorial delivered by Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Smylie Kaufman and Justin Thomas, I’ll bite.

It wasn’t that cool.

At times, the behavior exhibited was boorish, unbecoming of pro athletes who do so much to inspire kids and reckless to their physical health.

Projecting a little, this hyped series of “Snapped” videos spoke to golf’s embarrassing desperation to be liked by a younger generation, fueled by corporations who want to reach demos that the sport has almost never delivered. As someone who has subscribed to the narrative about the next wave of stars—nicer, more social media friendly, more grounded—the “Snapped” antics were kind of cute on day one. But by day four of the drunken behavior, the celebration of the next gen’s legacy suggested a peculiar precedent has been set.

Reading Mike Stachura’s GolfDigest.com piece on the normalcy delivered in last week’s Snapchatted vacation from the game’s young stars, I was taken aback by this:

But the Snapchatification of the trip, the exposure of the lives of Fowler & Friends in what appear to be unguarded moments, makes us wonder if we are seeing a sea change in the attitudes of top young players today, particularly top young American players. Having recently read Wright Thompson’s remarkable Tiger Woods profile for ESPN, it reaffirmed not just how lonely Tiger Woods was at the top, but how alone he seemed to willingly become. This is not the sense we get from the spring-break breakdown Fowler has been sending out from his rickiefowler15 account.

Actually, the sense I got right off the bat was of a promotional nature. Justin Thomas’s Tweet thanking Bakers Bay developer Mike Meldman and the Casamigos tequila that fueled some of the behavior confirmed that the location in question certainly wasn’t opposed to the millions in free advertising delivered by four days of social output. They might have even provided some services on the house. And frankly, I say good for these young men for enjoying their good connections, time off and access to fine tequila.

But four days with multiple examples of childish excess and questionable decision making? Don’t expect everyone to like it and definitely do not get touchy when some suggest you are no longer role models for youngsters.

From a historical perspective, the repeated suggestion of a generational difference between the #SB2K16 lads and previous golfing greats is alarming. Wright Thompson’s 11,000 words on Tiger, released as the kids were living it up in the Bahamas, devoted months of a talented writer’s time to finding out why Tiger behaved the way he did. The article was therapeutic for Tiger admirers who bought into a lifestyle and the imagery he put forward, allowing them feel better about themselves for being duped. Because the great golf wasn't enough, apparently. Why else would anyone spend 30 minutes reading about Tiger not returning to his dad’s unmarked ash grave in Kansas and give two hoots?

Many were invested in Tiger and he made them feel bad for liking someone who wasn't "normal", therefore they look for a cleansing of psychoanalysis to feel better for buying in. Just as many lived vicariously through Snapchat videos last week to have their idea of conformity rubber stamped or their devotion to this strange game deemed normal because our young stars whooped it up in the Bahamas.

Which brings me to the real concern in the hype over Snapchatted vacations. Again, not to pick on my colleague Stachura who was just one of many intrigued by the Bahamas behavior, but he writes:

Exorbitantly wealthy, they still seemed normal, less processed and robotic, more human. Maybe it’s because the backwards caps and board shorts came without corporate logos, but it was like seeing Batman without his cape and tights and realizing that Bruce Wayne knows how to have a good time, can dance and sing karaoke and hey, maybe he can invite me over the next time he parties.

So let’s say this fall we have a player who is more of the loner, iconoclastic variety vying for a Ryder Cup captain’s pick. Say, a Patrick Reed or Bryson DeChambeau or, gasp, a non-youngster like Charley Hoffman. Or a hologram of a cranky-as-ever Ben Hogan (hey, anyone who can make putts!).

Will last week’s outpouring of love for the more “human” generation--of the appropriate demographic of course--force a captain’s hand to pick the conforming, social media fun-loving young “guy” who was hazed by his peers on social media over the player who doesn’t want to play by the modern media rules?

Will we start holding it against golfers—historically a sport of lovable loners, weirdos, nuts and iconoclasts—when they don’t share key details of their lives, take off their shirts and act silly? Will a captain have his hand forced by golf's desperation to be loved by those wanting it to look and act younger?

I hope not.

Sunday
Apr242016

Bryan Bro Wesley Within One Web.com Win Of PGA Tour

Wesley Bryan did it with Hashtag Chad Coleman on the bag in Mexico, beating our old friend Brad Fritsch in a showdown of the Web.com's two best players this year.

Royce Thompson on the trick shot master's second win of 2016, setting him up for a battlefield promotion with one more.

A.J. Voepel on a Callaway social media challenge that turned into a looping gig while Bryan brother George was off pursuing his own golf career.